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Three months of festival gigs, lots of riders and advancing. Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 11th April 2019
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Three months of festival gigs, lots of riders and advancing.

The upcoming festival season will be long, include a lot of air travel and cover a lot of different countries, which means months of logistical planning and careful attention to detail. Ive known about this for a long time and have been working on the logistics and riders since about October 2018. Of course, most of this will happen at the same time that everyone else is on summer vacation, which only adds more complication to traveling by air especially when connections are necessary...one flight delay or cancellation can really mess up the best laid plans and cause you to even miss a gig. It took almost a week to examine and confirm all the travel plans for everybody concerned and I'm still going over some details just to be sure that we haven't missed any detail.

The last time I was in a similar situation I was always coming back to the tour bus in Europe which I used as my logistic hub...with a truck load of stuff in the trailer, I could go off for a up to a week with the essentials for those gigs and leave everything else on the bus. This time there will be no bus and I'll be jumping from one band to the next without coming back home...deciding what not to bring is not as simple as it might seem at first look. With weight and baggage limitations, it is imperative that my decision on what to bring or not is carefully managed...it will be almost impossible to make changes once I get on the first flight.

I didn't book the gigs, but it is my job to manage the planning and logistics to make it all happen, and creating, modifying and disseminating the riders and advancing all the gigs is a big chunk of the preparation process for obvious reasons. Coordinating between between all the parties concerned (band, promoters, tour agents) is sometimes not simple and often includes all kinds of horse trading to satisfy everybody.

Visa and work permit requirements is a another biggie and with up to five or six nationalities in one tour party the red tape can be daunting. One person here made the claim that his friend booked his own 2-month tour in the EU and took care of all the logistics on his own etc, and I'm wondering how. Considering all the administrative papers that need to be filed...especially regarding taxes, insurance etc, I have serious doubts about this claim. You can't just come here and go on tour, just as you can't just go on tour in the USA or the UK without dealing with the considerable red tape process.

As far as gear is concerned I'll probably carry all the microphones (16) and DIs (4 mono & 1 stereo) that I'll need, a pair of headphones and a flashlight in a Pelican 1510 case which will have to be checked based on the weight. I will not carry a multitool or anything with a knife attached...knife laws are all over the place in parts of Europe, the UK and other some other places I'll be visiting. I'll have a big Pelican case for my clothes and a backpack with personal stuff. Still trying to fit in a 6-space rack with 3 EFX units and 3 channel strips, not sure I can swing it but I'll see.
Old 11th April 2019
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Thanks for sharing.

POI - is there much paperwork involved with leaving the US or is it all EU generated? By the way, count your blessings, I remember (as you probably do) when all of these were different jurisdictions with widely variable requirements. I'm going to miss the simplicity when the lunatics finally cut us (UK) adrift of the rest of the world (EU).

I hesitate, of course, to suggest anything to you but I ensure at least one ART DTI is in the box even before spare underwear. The most versatile problem solver I've ever carried (or forgot to bring).

Enjoy, hope you get the weather you want.
Old 11th April 2019
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shufflebeat View Post
POI - is there much paperwork involved with leaving the US or is it all EU generated?
It works both ways and is always a PITA, This is one aspect of the prep that I don't do personally, it is way too complicated and I don't want to make any mistakes so the local agent pays a local expert to take care of the paperwork. It's one of the main reasons why I would not go anywhere in Africa without local government involvement at the highest level...the band must be so huge that the president/prime minister/minister of culture etc is involved.

Quote:
By the way, count your blessings, I remember (as you probably do) when all of these were different jurisdictions with widely variable requirements. I'm going to miss the simplicity when the lunatics finally cut us (UK) adrift of the rest of the world (EU).
Do I remember those days...my goodness, I get a headache just thinking about the various currencies and all the paperwork that had to be filed for each country. Back then I lived in NY and developed an aptitude for filling out the hundreds of forms and organizing the trips to the various embassies for visas etc until one artist asked me to be road manager and I've been doing it ever since. A year later I was elevated to tour manager and been stuck with that job too.

Quote:
I hesitate, of course, to suggest anything to you but I ensure at least one ART DTI is in the box even before spare underwear. The most versatile problem solver I've ever carried (or forgot to bring).

Enjoy, hope you get the weather you want.
Thanks a lot for the tip about the DTI, I have the Radial AV2 which does something similar, but I'll give this box a close look.

a couple of things that slipped me in the OP but I think are very important was the Carnet ATA which I made everybody get for their audio and multimedia gear and instruments, because I don't want to get hung up in an airport trying to prove that the brand new laptop was just purchased and not a gift or some such thing. The other thing was that all new sidemen had to prove they were healthy enough to travel...I just spent three weeks going running to a hospital in every town that we visited because a musician had an operation just before coming on the tour and didn't tell anyone. Two hours after he landed in Lyon, France we were in the hospital with him because he had torn out the staples in his gut during the flight and things only got worse from there.
Old 12th April 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
 

so your both tour manager and sound engineer?
Old 12th April 2019
  #5
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Pro Sound Guy's Avatar
 

Hey Sam have a great safe summer.
Take lots of pictures and record your journeys.
One day when you are up there in years you will be glad you did.
Old 12th April 2019
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
so your both tour manager and sound engineer?
Yes, which is not as difficult to do as it seems at first glance. The preparations and planning can be tedious but once its done and the tour starts I'm on cruise control...unless something breaks down. On the last two tours we had a bus break in the middle of nowhere on route to a very important gig and the situation with the sick musician that I mentioned in the previous post.

I only do this with a specific type of band...mid-level to upper mid-level pro band with a small efficient crew and enough budget and pull to do it right. I don't do this with really small bands because the budget is usually never big enough to pay me properly to do things right and I will not sleep in van or shower in the venue etc. I usually get paid to do all the prep and advance work and sometimes I'll join the tour for a one off, or a short series of important gigs where I just mix their sound. Even then, the band is usually serious about doing things right and advancing their careers as musicians, not just a bunch of jokers. I can/will do sound for even the smallest bands on a one-off gig, but the conditions have to be at a certain level for me to tour with a band...any band.

I also don't take on this level of responsibility when working with a really big band, once we're at the full production, multi trucks and buses level I might do production and sound, but that's it. I was crew chief on a handful of tours but didn't like that job a lot because I was always the first and the last to arrive and leave the venue and the road every single day of the tour....not funny. Things are a lot more cooperate with really big bands, with lots of staff (sometimes too many) to do everything, everyone has an assistant, and the structure is very rigid...I'm okay with just being the sound guy.

And then there is another category...I call them the pretenders, relatively new band with no real history or road experience to speak of, but there's a lot of hype and money around them because the first/new record is doing well.
Old 12th April 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Yes, which is not as difficult to do as it seems at first glance. The preparations and planning can be tedious but once its done and the tour starts I'm on cruise control...unless something breaks down. On the last two tours we had a bus break in the middle of nowhere on route to a very important gig and the situation with the sick musician that I mentioned in the previous post.

I only do this with a specific type of band...mid-level to upper mid-level pro band with a small efficient crew and enough budget and pull to do it right. I don't do this with really small bands because the budget is usually never big enough to pay me properly to do things right and I will not sleep in van or shower in the venue etc. I usually get paid to do all the prep and advance work and sometimes I'll join the tour for a one off, or a short series of important gigs where I just mix their sound. Even then, the band is usually serious about doing things right and advancing their careers as musicians, not just a bunch of jokers. I can/will do sound for even the smallest bands on a one-off gig, but the conditions have to be at a certain level for me to tour with a band...any band.

I also don't take on this level of responsibility when working with a really big band, once we're at the full production, multi trucks and buses level I might do production and sound, but that's it. I was crew chief on a handful of tours but didn't like that job a lot because I was always the first and the last to arrive and leave the venue and the road every single day of the tour....not funny. Things are a lot more cooperate with really big bands, with lots of staff (sometimes too many) to do everything, everyone has an assistant, and the structure is very rigid...I'm okay with just being the sound guy.

And then there is another category...I call them the pretenders, relatively new band with no real history or road experience to speak of, but there's a lot of hype and money around them because the first/new record is doing well.
makes a lot of sense - wouldn't wanna do it myself though; the only jobs that i occasionally combine are system engineer and sound engineer (on mid to upper mid level tours) - but frankly, the reason i'm in this business remains mixing: enough for me, especially when mixing at a festival (as right now) for almost a week with two bands each night...




p.s. depending on the nationality of a musician, it is possible to have someone join the travel party inside schengen with his/her personal gear without any need for a carnet etc. - the more and the newer the gear, things can become more difficult though but carrying an old jazz bass (or some mics) usually is no problem at all - well, besides the weight :-)
Old 12th April 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
makes a lot of sense - wouldn't wanna do it myself though; the only jobs that i occasionally combine are system engineer and sound engineer (on mid to upper mid level tours) - but frankly, the reason i'm in this business remains mixing: enough for me, especially when mixing at a festival (as right now) for almost a week with two bands each night...
The main reason I started organizing and managing tours was to guarantee that things were done correctly so that I would be comfortable on the road. Nothing screws up a tour like bad prep and/or or sketchy planning...screwed up hotel reservations, the wrong type of bus, rider not sent to the right people, inefficient routing and travel plans, or even a mostly vegetarian band that's offered pork meals every night etc. I was on a bus for 35 hours with 11 other people once just because some idiot in an office screwed up our routing.

Generally, once a band starts earning from $30,000 - $80,000 per gig, they're in the twilight zone...not small enough to be under the radar, but often times not big enough to throw money at everything. My aim is to make the tour as efficient and cost effective as possible without cutting any corners and still maintaining a high level of comfort. It's amazing how some little details can have a big impact on the mood and smooth running of a tour...so I like to get it right as best as I can from the start instead of running around putting out fires everyday.

Quote:
p.s. depending on the nationality of a musician, it is possible to have someone join the travel party inside schengen with his/her personal gear without any need for a carnet etc. - the more and the newer the gear, things can become more difficult though but carrying an old jazz bass (or some mics) usually is no problem at all - well, besides the weight :-)
I've never really had any problems with instruments or gear except when/if they get stolen at airports...but musicians and crew are often gadget geeks, and all you need is one hard-ass customs agent who is having a bad day to screw up your day. When I go to places like Australia and NZ I don't want to take chances, plus when you have stopovers in some less than sane countries where customs officials are always trying to seize your equipment for any reason....

I'll be at Blueballs festival in July, will you be there?

Last edited by Samc; 12th April 2019 at 10:18 AM..
Old 12th April 2019
  #9
Lives for gear
 

...regarding blueballs: i guess not - but pls pm so we can finally meet/hang out!
Old 12th April 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
 

As a general rule, I will not work with people who try to cut (legal) corners and break laws, and I always have a basic understanding of certain laws that would concern our presence and work in the country. Everything is always great until something happens...can I legally be paid in cash, how much cash can I legally walk around with in my pocket, what are the conditions under which I can legally stop the show or refuse to play, are there things the band can't or shouldn't say on stage etc, and I always have a signed copy of the contract and rider with me.

About 20 years ago I was in the Basque region of Spain in the north-west with a famous ska band tearing up the place until the singer said, "yes Spain". The same 18,000 people who were dancing and screaming louder than the PA half a second before, immediately became ominously silent. Had the promoter and most famous singer who were on the side of the stage not intervened immediately, things would have gone south. Turns out that this was an event to raise funds for the Basque separatist...go figure.

Something similar happened the first time an internationally known reggae band played in Morocco, it was a world music festival and the approval process was extremely long and tedious...over one year. The expected crowd was going to be so huge that the promoters had to create a special venue on the beach just outside Casablanca...more than 200,000 people showed up and that did not include the thousands of police and army personnel who were deployed to keep the peace. The Crash barriers were about 50 meters in front of the stage and the FOH position was about 40 meters in front of the stage, it was a surreal experience.

The band had the place rocking until one of the musicians shouted Jah Rastafari from the stage and several people in the massive crowd began to repeat it...all hell was about to break loose, the sound of several AK 47s being cocked at the same moment was impressive and frightening at the same time. Some people started throwing stones, others were running in all directions it was chaotic until the band started to play and sing a reggae version of "Brown Eyed Girl", and just like that everything went back to normal. By this time I was backstage and the police brass wanted to stop the band and end the concert but I and the promoter convinced them that that would only anger the crowd and cause a riot, luckily they listened and band played for two more hours...everybody went home singing.

To be continued...
Old 13th April 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 

As a follow up to post #10 (above) I just wanted to add that coming to Europe (or most of the world for that matter) to work without the correct paperwork can land you (and the people) you work for in a lot of trouble. Some years ago the Gendarmerie walked onto the stage of the Strasbourg concert hall and escorted either the Moscow or St. Petersburg orchestra and escorted them into busses that took them to the border because their paperwork was not in order. The orchestra was on tour, this was their second concert in France and they were taken off stage in the middle of the concert.

A famous rapper was stopped at the airport in Rome on how way to London, England with close to half a million in undeclared cash. He had to prove where every cent of the money came from, and that taxes was paid on everything they earned from every gig, in the end he paid a hefty fine to the Italian authorities and everybody else (including the American authorities) were waiting to collect from him at every airport. Getting paid cash and walking around with a lot of cash in your pocket is unisex and inadvisable for a number of reasons, and once you get above a certain amount, you better have all the paperwork to prove that everything is on the up and up.

I'm very skeptical when I hear stories of bands coming here on tour for several months at a time and paying off their huge mansions when they get back home when the explanation of how it was done is not given.
Old 14th April 2019
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Would be interesting to hear from anybody else who is a tour, road or production manager...what types of tours you run, how you prepare and the problems you run into regularly etc.
Old 15th April 2019
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
drewbonez's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
A

The band had the place rocking until one of the musicians shouted Jah Rastafari from the stage and several people in the massive crowd began to repeat it...all hell was about to break loose, the sound of several AK 47s being cocked at the same moment was impressive and frightening at the same time. Some people started throwing stones, others were running in all directions it was chaotic until the band started to play and sing a reggae version of "Brown Eyed Girl", and just like that everything went back to normal.

To be continued...
As soon as you said Brown Eyed Girl cover I knew exactly who you were speaking of
Old 15th April 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewbonez View Post
As soon as you said Brown Eyed Girl cover I knew exactly who you were speaking of
Shouldn't be too hard to figure it out...
Old 15th April 2019
  #15
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...allow me to share a recent experience (last saturday)/what can happen although things were settled months ago, reconfirmed a week prior to the gig and again with a call to the tour bus.

___


soundcheck: all seemed to run smoothly until the star suddenly arrives, way too early/prior to the scheduled time/band soundcheck not yet finished, starts yelling at the foh engineer (me) to get her mix louder although she was introduced to the monitor engineer 20 seconds before (and levels in her wedges were already insane) - she then was either shouting at the top of her lungs (with the mic very close) or was whispering (with the mic at her belly) but hardly capable or willing of any 'normal' singing - at times, she was pointing the mic straight at her wedges; in between songs, she was laughing madly, telling weird stories, ecstatically dancing, spastically moving her arms or then almost collapsing, sitting bent on a piano chair... - clearly out of her mind/on drugs! (assumed) personality disorder and drug addicition makes for a tough comination!

___


i rang up the promotor, informing him that i wasn't sure whether the show may or SHOULD take place -
i managed to finish soundcheck, then had another band doing soundcheck while the promotor had a conversation with the lady...

___


show time: dunno what the promotor told her and she must have gotten new/different/better drugs, so (much to my astonishment) she managed to get through the gig without flaws (except that she kept the same approach regarding her mic 'technique' so i had to ride fader all night long, in addition to making severe use of a compressor and limiter...)

i wasn't much surprised that the damned digico showed an error message mid-show and i couldn't access half of the desk! luckily, i had a copy of her channel on all layers and both sides of the desk and it kept running until the end of the show...

___


after the gig, i saw a text message from my girl friend that she had to go to the hospital as she got bitten by a dog! - what a day...
Old 16th April 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
...allow me to share a recent experience (last saturday)/what can happen although things were settled months ago, reconfirmed a week prior to the gig and again with a call to the tour bus.........................
Yeah, but she was on drugs, you didn't mention anything about a tour/road manager taking charge of the situation and she didn't have her own sound crew.

You and the rest of the local crew and production may have been organized and prepared but she was certainly not and things only work right when everybody is on the same page and in sync.

Quote:
after the gig, i saw a text message from my girl friend that she had to go to the hospital as she got bitten by a dog!
Sorry to hear about this, hopefully it's not too bad and the recovery is speedy.
Old 16th April 2019
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
...you didn't mention anything about a tour/road manager taking charge of the situation and she didn't have her own sound crew.
[...]
Sorry to hear about this, hopefully it's not too bad and the recovery is speedy.
no one who is in his/her senses will tour with her anymore; cannot understand the musicians either (they were really grateful we managed to get through the gig)...

...thx; she's doing better - c ya in luzern (what date?)
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Lead singer and British national lost his passport after he got his US (work) visa, then finds it on the same day the new passport is ready...of course both the passport and the visa are now dead after being reported lost.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
S21
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S21's Avatar
 

Can you sing his parts through the talkback mic? :-)
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
The upcoming festival season will be long, include a lot of air travel and cover a lot of different countries, which means months of logistical planning and careful attention to detail. Ive known about this for a long time and have been working on the logistics and riders since about October 2018. Of course, most of this will happen at the same time that everyone else is on summer vacation, which only adds more complication to traveling by air especially when connections are necessary...one flight delay or cancellation can really mess up the best laid plans and cause you to even miss a gig. It took almost a week to examine and confirm all the travel plans for everybody concerned and I'm still going over some details just to be sure that we haven't missed any detail.

The last time I was in a similar situation I was always coming back to the tour bus in Europe which I used as my logistic hub...with a truck load of stuff in the trailer, I could go off for a up to a week with the essentials for those gigs and leave everything else on the bus. This time there will be no bus and I'll be jumping from one band to the next without coming back home...deciding what not to bring is not as simple as it might seem at first look. With weight and baggage limitations, it is imperative that my decision on what to bring or not is carefully managed...it will be almost impossible to make changes once I get on the first flight.

I didn't book the gigs, but it is my job to manage the planning and logistics to make it all happen, and creating, modifying and disseminating the riders and advancing all the gigs is a big chunk of the preparation process for obvious reasons. Coordinating between between all the parties concerned (band, promoters, tour agents) is sometimes not simple and often includes all kinds of horse trading to satisfy everybody.

Visa and work permit requirements is a another biggie and with up to five or six nationalities in one tour party the red tape can be daunting. One person here made the claim that his friend booked his own 2-month tour in the EU and took care of all the logistics on his own etc, and I'm wondering how. Considering all the administrative papers that need to be filed...especially regarding taxes, insurance etc, I have serious doubts about this claim. You can't just come here and go on tour, just as you can't just go on tour in the USA or the UK without dealing with the considerable red tape process.

As far as gear is concerned I'll probably carry all the microphones (16) and DIs (4 mono & 1 stereo) that I'll need, a pair of headphones and a flashlight in a Pelican 1510 case which will have to be checked based on the weight. I will not carry a multitool or anything with a knife attached...knife laws are all over the place in parts of Europe, the UK and other some other places I'll be visiting. I'll have a big Pelican case for my clothes and a backpack with personal stuff. Still trying to fit in a 6-space rack with 3 EFX units and 3 channel strips, not sure I can swing it but I'll see.
hi sam

i guess you're on tour now? for how long already? could you take the rack with channel strips and efx with you? - besides working out logistics/advancing gigs, did you practice any sorts of physical/mental preparing (yoga, running, whatever) and how do you keep fit while being on tour?

let's catch up in lucerne!

didier
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
hi sam

i guess you're on tour now? for how long already? could you take the rack with channel strips and efx with you? - besides logistics/advancing, did you practice any sorts of physical/mental preparing (yoga, running, whatever) and how do you keep fit while being on tour?

let's catch up in lucerne!

didier
Didier, at this stage it's more like gigging and traveling than touring, because I'm never out for more than a few days at a time and I'm flying everywhere. I'm traveling like a nomad...no rack and no big suitcase...nothing to check. Just microphones, and enough clothes for three days in a carry on case and a backpack keeps me moving quickly through airports with less chance of missing connections or loosing bags.

I don't do yoga or go to the hotel gym etc when I'm on tour, I always cover more than a few kilometers (on foot) everyday...up and down stairs, lifting and carrying my gear etc. I rest whenever I get the chance and I always try to eat well and properly, I know from experience that getting injured and/or sick on the road sucks, so safety first and I'm always careful about what I eat especially when I go to some far out places. Just going from Europe to USA and back may require some adjustment because of jet lag, fatigue and a change in diet.

Will be in Lucerne close to the end of July, it will be the fifth stop in a eight country, eight festival run in as many days....eight (different) countries and festivals in eight days, by airplane. I'll send you details by PM about my trip and gig ASAP.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 

thx for the update - hope that you enjoy your work, that you are not experiencing any (major) issues and i'm looking forward to seeing you in luzern.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
thx for the update - hope that you enjoy your work, that you are not experiencing any (major) issues and i'm looking forward to seeing you in luzern.
Thanks, no major problems...knocks on wood...venues are sold out, the bands kick ass, and I'm loving it.
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